A Travellerspoint blog

Walking Lots day 17

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I guess you guys are thinking this is an ABC tour( another bloody church ) but not really its just that these countries have so many & throughout their history have been so damned religious.
Today we started off heading to the other Sassi Barisiano guess about 1 k along a road over looking the ravine. Then down , down into the narrow winding alley ways . We came to the rupestrian church of San Giuliano . Often there are two churches in one...the modern one generally built around 16 / 17 c & below it the early church perhaps as this one daring back to 12 c . The newer church was quite stunning the old one well.... We had to go along a narrow passage in which we couldn't really stand up .The light didn't work ( Bill forgot his torch today ) & the passage was just wide enough for our shoulders . Man I was a little traumatised again . I held onto Bills backpack & well nearly prayed! . He he now that would be something for me .
When we finally got there ( no photos allowed ) well it had frescos , bones , & a bit of an altar .
Think I'm bout churched out .

We finally left the Sassi & wandered into the modern town found a Banco di Napoli & re supplied the coffers . We bought some very Italian idea of a sausage roll & a couple of other bad pastry things & sat in the sun on a fountain step. Lovely ambience .
Then came the walk back ....I am such a smart ass & always think I know best. These places are very tricky & one arch looks the same as another. I insisted we take one & so we walked all the way down perhaps 200 steps ( dangerous to say the least) I was wrong & up we went then decided to use the direction finder. It said about 200 m ( as the bloody crow flies ) my little effort took us an hour to remedy . Finally made it back to our hotel very hot sore feet. All in all a fantastico day .

Tonight we are having another bed picnic .Yummy rolls more salami another very smelly Gorgonzola & chianti of course.
Will watch a little Italian TV then early night tomorrow off to Alberobello & staying in a trulli . Ciao.

Posted by Billdeb 07:32 Comments (0)

Walking lots Day 16

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Was thinking while in bed last night of how I could accurately get the impressions of this place across.
I can understand how Mel Gibson used The Sassi for his indulgent movie Passion of The Christ or whatever he called it.
Matera appears as though it should be in Palestine not a couple of hundred k's from Rome.
I think I mentioned before that for a country that relies heavily on tourism Italians don't find it necessary to really help the foreign traveller. We luckily had a reasonable map and were able to follow that to find our way around the intricate paths tracks caves & churches of this UNESCO site.
Everything is reached by a series of stairs,steps & steep roads. The surfaces are constructed of marble stone smooth , shiny but protruding consequently it is all quite unsafe & one can feel every rock through even my " amazing" hiking boots.
By the end of the day my toes knew they had been up & down mountains . Not complaining but gee I felt a bit average when we finally for to bed last night.
We decided that we would have a picnic in our room for dinner last night in part to save some money ( restaurants are noticeably more expensive here than in Spain & Portugal last year & I think more so than when we were last here in 2010)
Our meal consisted of yum crunchy bread the most smelly blue cheese & an Italian salami all of course washed down with a bottle of chianti .
There is a stunning gorge here which is dotted with more caves used as dwellings until the 1950's one can go hiking through this area but I am not up for goat tracks . Think Bill is a bit sad & I know that if Anton , Sarah or Zkye were with us they would all be very keen. I'm afraid they have a gutless mother when it comes to heights no rails & sheer drops. Sorry Bill I am just barely coping with places with rails . Keep saying about " Occ , Heath & Safety but they couldn't manage that in these places. Oh boy !

Really think we will talk about this place more when we get home . It is definitely somewhere people should put on their bucket list.
Today we are off to see the other half of the Sassi . Guessing I will be very tired again by tonight.

Hi people, just a short one!! Having gone into yet another Museo access to one section was over a glass floor. The lady doesn't go over these, one of her phobias, so I stomped back over it to take her hand and told her to look at the bloody ceiling and promised her she wouldn't fall through. It worked.

Posted by Billdeb 01:01 Comments (0)

Day 15 Off to Matera

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Well this was one of the days I was a little aprehensive about. We had to catch ferry from Procida Is easy had to get a taxi from wharf to Garibaldi Sq had to find where the bus for Matera left from . This is an enormous square & confusing to say the least with roads ,traffic ,people everywhere. We showed the taxi driver the name of the bus company & he took us to a spot with a couple of buses waiting. He said in very broken English that we could buy tickets on the bus.
Not convinced Bill tried to find out from a bus driver who again in broken English told Bill he had to buy tickets. Man !
He left me & disappeared into a sea of confusion. He did set the direction finder thingy we have. Just In case he couldn't work out how to get back to me. He was gone quite a while but we did have 3 hrs till the bus left. It wasn't easy like I said before the Italians aren't keen on signage that makes it easy for the thousands of tourists that help to support this country. Finally he was at a machine that sold bus tickets but not to where we were going . An old man approached him & offered help ....mmmmmm bit of a worry but Bill really had no choice he also figured he could handle one old man if need be. Well Bill followed him & followed him the old man asked a couple of people then finally found a very small window. No sign nothing but success Bill was able to buy the 2 €20 tickets. He gave the old man some € for his trouble. We would not have got on the bus without them . Relief.
The bus trip was long 4.5 hrs but much faster than the train which was 7 hrs & 2 changes
. Bus was scary because the driver was literally on his mobile the entire trip . The mobile laws haven't reached here yet . Same with stop signs & speed signs .....oh man sometimes I am happy we are so over controlled.
The next drama was that we understood the bus stop was a long way out of town. Mmmm that would be a problem but fantastic there was a taxi . More relief €10 took us right through the modern town & into The Sassi where we are staying in a hotel built in the rocks.
Brief explanation of the Sassi ( read about it amazing ) deep limestone ravines pitted with caves. Cave dwellings dating back to 8 th C . Quite an bizzare past but now a UNESCO wonder of the world.
Ok enough off to explore & take pics of this incredible site.

Posted by Billdeb 00:34 Comments (2)

Day 14 still on Procida Island

sunny 23 °C
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Very lazy day...got up late after a really good nights sleep. We figured a lazy day was in order as nothing much happens here on Sundays. Well , Bill did suggest one of the numerous church services the bells were tolling incessantly for. Ha what a joke ! We stayed in bed a little longer.
TV here is a total waste of time unless you speak Italian. I have been reading Life of Pi to Bill as a serial each night . Now he wants more & I find I am reading for an hour or more at a time. Guess I've made a rod for myself now.
We finally got going & decided the only thing to do was head to the restaurant at the fishing village. We took a slightly different road today & found ourselves on a road lucky to be 7 feet 6. wide. That's fine if you are the only thing on it but no motor scooters, cars & believe it or not a bloody bus that was at least 6.6 ft wide. Not much room for humans climbing or clinging to walls . In some places even on a Sunday there are municipal police that stop the traffic going in both directions at once. They have red lolly pop sticks with stop ( in Italian ) on them. It'sa very quaint. Not really into the flattening against walls though.
Tomorrow morning early we catch the ferry back to Napoli & then a long bus trip to Matera Apulia .We know the bus company name & that the bus leaves from somewhere in Garibaldi Sq right in the heart of Napoli . Ciao till Matera .

Posted by Billdeb 08:15 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Day 13 Procida Is

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Well the third day on this little island. Like I'm sure I already said only 4 k's long . We decided to walk to the other end of the island to the other fishing village it is only about 2k's from our apartment .
The scary part is the road is only about 12 feet wide & one has to share in parts with bus,cars, scooters & parked vehicles. The other strange thing is that both sides of the road there are high concrete walls hiding the orange / lemon groves , orchards & occasional market garden. We did think we would see larger fields but all the holdings are tiny . In fact this whole place is in miniature . Tiny cars,buses trucks & little , little shops. Practical when you think about the size of the island & the narrow roads.
We did catch the little bus back down to the marina & then on to our new fav restaurant for lunch.
It was a long lunch ravioli for me & calamari for Bill with an Italian version of chips. Dessert ...Bill a pastry filled with lemon custard & me a crepe filled with chocolate . All was washed down with a bottle of rosé mmmmm 13 % now that wasn't good! We spent at least 2 hours over lunch then staggered back to the apartment for a well deserved 2 hr sleep. Sleep during the day is rare for us & one could say sleep sometimes for me is rare at night.
We have just spent the last couple of hours in the sun up on the flat roof of our abode. I had my headphones on playing Mz Z full blast & annoying Bill with my out of tune humming.
Dinner tonight is our version of spaghetti bolognese .
No English TV here not even BBC or CNN so I guess it will be more of my humming to iPod & reading iBooks .
Have no idea what we will do tomorrow at this stage. Not much else to see here. We may look at a day on Ischia the closest island. Ciao all .

Posted by Billdeb 08:42 Comments (0)

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